So... I have been in Finland for 2 days and I have had more Finnish experiences than I can keep track of.
Many delicious Finnish foods... cheese in my coffee... hmmmm... interesting. Downtown Helsinki. Finnish 4-yr-old birthday party. Finnish Sauna... Ah... here is what I will post about. I have heard various stories about saunas... I have experienced the American version of sauna... but here, today, I experienced a true Finnish sauna...
So... step inside.... Riitta's dear friends let us use their wood heated sauna... much better than the electric heated kind. :-)
Shower first to get wet as you enter the sauna it is dry heat until you start to sweat and then you add water to the stones and the steam comes.
inside the sauna... the temperature was hovering at 80 degrees celsius... :-) I guess for a lot of foreigners the joke is to add a lot of water to see how long they can stand it... I am happy to say... Riitta my dear Finnish friend, was done before I was.
Then a shower to get all the sweat off you and some cool air (or snow if it is available) to bring your body temps down. And then back to normal life.
Riitta loves the sauna. She said that the Fins use it for cleaning/cleansing. all your impurities come out through your skin. lovely thought I know... and she loves the conversations that happen. We had lovely conversation. Deep and insightful and light and funny... and of course, being women, we talked about men. hmmm is that too much information? :-)
I am a HUGE fan of the Finnish sauna. I have not felt that refreshed and relaxed all at the same time for ...well I don't remember when was the last time. :-)
Okay so October 23rd is forever branded in my mind... Cause I have two dear friends who were born on this day... some years ago. Cindy Carlson and Tori Johnson.
Cindy and I met about 13 years ago on a mission trip to Alaska. She got married on my birthday a few years later and I was priviliged to be part of the wedding party. Here she is with one of her two delightful sons. oh, and she is married to a great guy, Chad, and they are being called to go work in New Orleans... fun adventures ahead!!!!
And Tori I met about 8 years ago and we bonded instantly... She is terrific! She has been my Festa Italia partner the last two years. She loves kids and is really really really good with them.
I just feel like I need to share all the things that are happening this week. I don't like weeks like this... too many things and none of them connected to each other but all connected at the heart level to me! Wears me out!
1. My dear friend Adrienne is going back to Ohio on Thursday. She has been my sanity so many times this past year and now she is going home to Colombus to plan a wedding.
2. My younger brother Matthew... not youngest...younger... the one who literally looks like Matt Damon... He is turning 30 on Thursday.
3. My missions pastor and his wife are here all week. I love them! they are fantastic and I really respect them. It is good to have them here... just a wierd week to have them here. Kristin sent a movie with them for me... Amelie.. I have been wanting to see/own it for a year now. :-) She is the coolest! :-) And my mom sent vitamins... that is a long story for another day. You know, it is always good for my heart to receive gifts like this. funny... not hah hah.. .but funny interesting. :-)
This is what the vineyards look like around here right now... it is beautiful! Fall is here and the grapes are being harvested!
4. My landlord started showing my flat to potential new renters... strange... I leave here in 2 months. I am so glad I am coming back here... Lord willing. And so in my heart I am processing through leaving this place and these people for a time... and it hurts my heart.
5. I need to write an update. I need to start packing. I need to raise support for New Staff Training. AND... I need to do my job here! I do not want to let anything fall through the cracks....
So I think that October 12th should be Bekah Tucker day. Bekah is my dear friend. I have had the privilege of working next to her in the same office, going to the same church as her, living in Europe at the same time as her, etc... All a huge honor to share with her. And today... October 12th is her birthday!
Happy Birthday Bekah!!!!!!
here is bekah...
this is Bekah and I before we both moved to Europe...
this is Bekah and I at our friend Karin's wedding in Switzerland...
So I shipped a lot of books to Germany when I moved here... 1 year ago. Yes folks. 1 year ago today I got on a plane at some crazy morning hour and moved to Germany. And that means that 1 year ago tomorrow I arrived in Germany.
Anyway, I shipped over books. Books I have read many times and books I had not yet read. Living alone has given me time to read some of the books that I had not read. One I recently picked up was Don Miller's book "Searching for God Knows What".
Now, I like Don and feel privileged to have hung out with him in the past so that when I read his books it truly does feel like it is a conversation. He writes as if he is just in a conversation with you. I love it!
So, last night, I was reading in this book and came across this: "God wired us so that He told us who we were, and outside that relationship, the relationship that said we were loved and valuable and beautiful, we didn't have any worth at all." Pg 107.
Can you wrap your mind around that sentence? I can. And it makes a lot of sense to me. When I let other people or circumstances define who I am, I feel empty and undervalued. When I let God define who I am, I feel loved, valuable and beautiful. Now, this is not a new concept...but it is profound truth that I have a hard time remembering.
So last night after reading that and writing it down. I know I had this goofy grin on my face. How amazing is that???? I, Melissa Rennae Wright, am loved completely by God. He created me so that I am most at rest and most joyful when I let Him define me. And there is so much freedom in that definition. Truly AMAZIING!
So thanks to Don for pointing us to this truth that is all throughout the Bible.
Hi Diane. :-) you commented on Jen and Peter's site... should I be offended that you don't post on mine? :-)